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the spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me. I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

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The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.

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But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

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And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

OUR Savior has faithfully testified, that for every idle word which men speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment. Man is therefore, a being accountable to his Maker for his actions, as well as dependant for his gifts. A state of accountability always presupposes a time of rendering account; and it is not reasonable to suppose the time of rendering account can be fulfilled,till after the labors of an accountable state are completed. As man's whole life is a state of accountability, it is not easy to determine how he can render account for the last moral action in this life, after the action is performed. Therefore the scripture plainly states, what reason sug

gests, that after death comes the judgment.* It can be no otherwise than reasonably expected that when judged according to our works, we should receive the approbation or disapprobation of our judge, according as we have fulfilled or disregarded our accountable state. This idea, likewise, we find supported by scripture. Future punishment, then, seems naturally included in the idea of future judgment, unless all can render a good account at that period. Future judgment must be embraced in the sentiment of accountability, and is necessary to support the idea. The doctrine of accountability is requisite to the support of the moral relation in which we stand to our Creator as his rational offspring, and his right to give us laws, maxims and precepts, requiring obedience. Destroy accountability, and no one has a right to say, Why do ye so? Eradicate the impressive sentiment of a future judgment, and you greatly weaken the sense of moral obligation; for it gives no opportunity of rendering account for the last actions in life, which, perhaps may be the worst. It is, therefore, abundantly evident that the idea of future judgment, and the danger of future punishment, is necessary to strengthen a sense of moral accountability to God.

In a scriptural inquiry relative to the important doctrine of this subject, let us attend

*Heb. ix. 27.

to the passages that are now selected for this purpose. They clearly express the idea of punishment for sin; and, as it respects time and duration, there are three differing sentiments held among us, one of which only can be true to compare with them. One is that punishment is confined to this state of existence; another that it is future, but will end; and the third is interminable misery in an endless existence.

In relation to these points, we will first notice the blasphemy against the holy Ghost, which is stated not to be forgiven in this world, neither in the world to come. If it be

made clearly to appear the world to come is in this world, it is equally plain that the unforgiven state of the blasphemer may be in this world; otherwise the text proves future misery and punishment. But to be fulfilled in this life, both "this world" and "the world to come" must be in this world! It is said "the word world means age or dispensation." Jesus spake these words under the law, during the continuance of the legal priesthood. "This world" referred to the then present order of things, and "the world to come," to the age in which the Gentiles would be visited with the gospel, and the Jews excluded. is granted the original might be more properly rendered age than world. But does the scripture say, the world or age to come, is the gos pel dispensation in this life? It does not.


Does it naturally embrace this idea? We ask for proof. Satisfactory evidence has not yet been shown. St. Paul who considered himself and his brethren as "not under the law, but under grace," which is the gospel dispensation, considered himself and them in that age, which some account the world to come; and yet he spoke of the world to come and of ages to come. Did he so express himself and mean by the world to come, the age in which he lived, a dispensation which was not under the law but under grace? He undoubtedly meant to be understood by such expressions according to the natural import and connexion of his words, and therefore expressed the idea of an age or ages succeeding the dispensation of the gospel in this life.

Christ says the children of this world marry and are given in marriage. If he here intended the dispensation of the law as opposed to that of the gospel, why not as well say the children of the world to come, marry and are given in marriage? Those that belong to the gospel dispensation have married, and, as they believe, according to the law of God. But there is no dispute but "this world" in the passage alluded to, includes this mortal life, and that world" a succeeding period.

In opposition to the idea of future punishment the blasphemy against the holy Spirit is applied to the Jews in a national capacity; and their present exclusion from gospel priv

ileges is considered their unforgiven state in the world to come. From the beginning of the gospel dispensation to the present, according to this opinion, they are receiving their punishment for blaspheming against the holy Ghost. But where is the proof of this idea? Did any of the inspired penmen make this ap. plication of the text? They applied the punishment to the individual blasphemers, and not their descendants. St. Matthew says, "But whosoever speaketh against the holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." He says nothing here of their children, nor any others. St. Mark limits it particularly: It is "he that shall blaspheme ;" and St. Luke likewise: "But unto him that blasphemeth," and not to another.

Should it be urged that the punishment of the blasphemy against the holy Ghost is the temporal punishment of the ancient Jews and their descendants, from Christ until now, because they are in an unforgiven state like the blasphemer, the hearer is cautioned against admitting this application as an undeniable consequence. In case of a particular theft, and of a man known to be a thief, it would not follow of certainty from his known character, that he was guilty in that instance. It would either be necessary to prove there were no other thieves, or that he actually performed the alleged crime.

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